Manila-Australia economy experience on Singapore Air, Virgin Australia & SilkAir

We bought Singapore Air tickets for our Manila-Sydney-Manila trips, and Virgin Australia for Sydney to Cairns. I talked about our decision making in this post, and today I’ll talk about our experience on these economy flights.

Manila-Singapore via Singapore Airlines

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200/200ER

Flight duration: 3hrs 45mins

We had a 3-hour layover in Singapore (which is perhaps the best terminal to have a layover) on our way to Sydney.

When I sat down, I immediately felt the difference. The economy seat in Singapore Airline felt like a business class seat. It was plush and more spacious than the seats in our local airlines.

A touch of Christmas on our December flight.

Aside from the standard in-seat emergency instructions and magazines, we were not provided with a menu. We were, however, provided small pillows and a hot towel.

No charging station and the computer is a little slow.

Just before we entered the airplane, we were given headphone jacks. Mine wasn’t working, but I had a book to keep me company anyway. Ate Koku and I competed in the trivia game for a few minutes. The computer was quite slow although there’s a good enough selection of games.

I was disappointed to find we had no charging docks, but I reasoned that it might be because it’s just a short flight from Manila. I’m glad for the very roomy space for knees, though.

Since our flight was in the evening, we were provided with dinner. I was looking forward to the food because I always read that their food is delicious. I was disappointed because it tasted the same as in any other flight. But maybe that’s because our palate is affected while in an airplane. I loved that they provided actual utensils because it’s so difficult to eat with plastic ones.

Spicy fish, cold pasta, a slice of cake, bread, and water.
A selection of alcoholic drinks, juices, soft drinks, hot drinks, and water.

Aside from the drinks on the tray, in Singapore Airline flights you can have made to order cocktails, especially their Singapore Sling. However, I didn’t avail of this during this short flight.

We landed in Terminal 2, and our outgoing flight to Sydney will depart from Terminal 3. We couldn’t figure out the Skytrain so we took the bus instead.

We didn’t need to get our checked in luggage because transferring your luggage to your connecting flight is part of Singapore Airline’s service. I was a bit anxious because there are times when the luggage is lost or didn’t make it to the connecting flight; however, I was comforted by the fact that I had travel insurance, which covered delayed or lost luggage.

Changi has free wifi for 3 hours, or 24 hours if you download the Changi app. Since we only had a quick layover, I didn’t download the Changi app. They have self-service kiosks where you just scan your passport and it will give you a password, or you can approach any of the information desks.

Singapore-Sydney via Singapore Airlines

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200/200ER

Flight duration: 8 hours

Singapore Airline’s economy travel kit

Sadly, we had the same type of aircraft, without charging ports in the seat and a slow screen. However, since it was nighttime, I slept for most of the flight

A pillow and blanket were already on our seats when we arrived. After the hot towel, we were also provided with a travel kit, which contained compression socks, toothbrush, and a small toothpaste. I didn’t use the socks because I was already wearing jeggings, so I had a bit of compression. I did use it, however, on our return flight’s layover for those leg massage chairs scattered around Changi airport. Such bliss.

You can order alcoholic drinks at any moment so I had a Singapore Sling after dinner, but it didn’t taste so good. I had one in Raffles a few years ago, and I loved it. The one on the plane wasn’t anywhere near like that.

Dinner: Asian noodles with chicken, bread, cheese and crackers
Sad breakfast food

It was an 8-hour flight from evening until just before lunch, but we were only given one full meal for dinner then bread for breakfast. There was a menu, which I forgot to take a picture of, but the other choice was lamb. I don’t eat lamb so I went with the noodles. This time, the food tasted better.

Everyone was served the same meal for breakfast. I didn’t like the muffin with almonds so ate Koku and I swapped her bread for the muffin. I loved the warm bread! Since I still had cheese from the dinner provided, I used that with the bread.

The flight crew were nice, although a bit harried at the start, but when they got their bearings, they were more friendly. They also repeatedly refilled my water bottle upon request.

Singapore Airlines fell a bit short of my expectations in terms of food. On our trip from Manila to Rome, Emirates had these unlimited snack service where you can ask for a cup of noodles anytime throughout the flight, and we were able to charge our devices in the plane. I had the same expectations for Singapore Airline, especially for the Singapore to Sydney flight. However, now that I know what to expect, I would fly with them again if only for the extra comfort of the seats.

Sydney to Cairns via Virgin Australia

Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 JET

Flight duration: 3 hours 5 minutes

Very tight space
Very narrow seats and didn’t even reach up to my shoulders

Writing this, I just realized how expensive our flight to Cairns was, taking into account the snack and seat comfort we experienced. The seats of Virgin Australia were so narrow, it felt like I was sitting on a low-cost carrier. No pillows or blankets were provided, although they gave a substantial snack and water upon request.

They don’t have in-seat screens but they have entertainment available via their app that you can download before the flight on your iOS or Android device. I had Netflix and books so I didn’t make use of the app.

Cairns to Singapore via SilkAir

Aircraft: Boeing 737-800

Flight duration: 6 hours 55 minutes

I could barely find any reviews for SilkAir for the Cairns to SG route. SilkAir is a semi-budget airline by Singapore Airlines (their most budget airline is Scoot).

The space between chairs was not as roomy as the Singapore Air plane, although the seats are wider than Virgin Australia. We were provided with blankets but no pillows.

There’s no entertainment console, but like with Virgin Australia, you can access some content via the SilkAir app.

The flight attendants were very friendly. They also handed out water twice before and after the meal to keep us all hydrated. They provided a snack, but I forgot to take a picture of it. However, they did hand out dinner.

Tasty pasta and chicken dish

Singapore to Manila via Singapore Airlines

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200/200ER

Flight duration: 3hrs 45mins

After an almost 13-hour layover in Changi airport

Tip: There’s a free sleeping lounge in Changi airport but it’s a bit difficult to find. There’s internet and a TV as well in the same lounge. The sleeping area was already full so we slept near the TV, which was almost empty.

The flight experience was the same, but lunch was pasta with cold pasta and their super yummy bread. For dessert, they gave us a Magnum ice cream bar.

What surprised me about Singapore Airline is that even when we had a slight delay, we still arrived at our destination at the same time. Barring that one flight, all our other flights left on time so we were able to follow our set itineraries.

I prefer to fly with one airline as much as possible because I want to accumulate mileage points. However, since Singapore Airlines serves some routes that PAL or Emirates doesn’t serve, I signed up for KrisFlyer too. Virgin Australia turned out to be a codeshare partner of Singapore Air, so I logged in my KrisFlyer miles for our VA flight. I would consider riding with Singapore Airlines again if budget permits.

Read my other Australia travel posts!

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